Kiwis Against Seabed Mining confirmed they will appeal today’s EPA’s decision to greenlight a dangerous seabed mining proposal in the South Taranaki Bight.
“We have to take the only responsible route here by appealing this decision, on behalf of the future of our coastal peoples and environment, the blue whales, maui dolphins and little penguins. We saw at least 13,700 people object to this proposal, and the only logical next step is to challenge that decision on their behalf,” said Phil McCabe, Chairperson of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.
“We are stunned that the EPA could have given this experimental industry the go-ahead, given the startling lack of available crucial information. Even the EPA’s decision making committee was split on its decision, requiring an extra vote from the Chair. We have no choice but to lodge an appeal,” he said.
Trans Tasman Resources have applied to dig up 50 million tonnes of the seabed a year, for 35 years, to get five million tonnes of iron ore per year for direct export to Asia.
“This decision sets a dangerous precedent for New Zealand’s marine environment. There are further proposals closer to the coast in the South Taranaki Bight, off the coast off Kawhia, the South Island’s West Coast, the Chatham Rise and an area off the coast of Waihi Beach” said McCabe.
He noted that the UN’s International Seabed Authority (ISA) was in the process of establishing rules for seabed mining in international waters.
“New Zealand is acting prematurely in this space. Seabed mining is an untested activity and other countries have put moratoria in place, yet our government is promoting the industry and granting consents long before any clear scientific evidence on the damage it would cause is available. This is not a race we want to be leading.”
“With the direct export of raw iron ore and no adding value on land, this proposal brings very little economic benefit at huge environmental cost.”
He noted the EPA had ripped up the rulebook around the whole application process, accepting the proposal as “complete” in September last year, despite being warned by KASM and others that there were glaring holes in scientific information; holes that were not filled during the 11-month process.
“The company’s consultation process was flawed, its science was flawed, it tried to redact key evidence, and they did not consult properly. We had to go to the Environment Court to force the release of key environmental information – a decision the Court said we won “by a considerable margin.”
“A whopping 99 percent of more than 13,733 submitters were opposed to this application, across the board, from Iwi and the fishing industry to recreational fishers and coastal communities and concerned people across the country – and we have to thank these people for their efforts in speaking up for the oceans against this proposal,” he said.